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|The College Application Page
Is someone you know struggling to fill out a college application?
Do you need some help?
Most applications require students to write an essay about something. This essay is the critical part of the application. It can determine if the applicant gets into the school or not. The essay is usually about themselves or why they want to go to that school. Often it is the most difficult and frustrating part of the form for the applicant. Different schools use these essays differently.
Don't be frustrated!
Don't give up!
Don't allow a poor essay to lock you out of the selection process.
The School Page experts on our staff have many years experience on college entrance committees. They know what the schools are looking for. They understand why the essays are asked for and how they are used. If you need help with your application, The School Page staff will offer editing comments on your essay and make suggestions about what kinds of items to include and exclude. You will still have to write the essay. It must be your own work. We will not write your essay for you but will guide you through the process until you have completed an outstanding essay that will help you in the admissions process. We will also offer suggestions on the other items in the application. Never use the original application first. Make copies of it and use the copies for practice. Always type the application - do not write it by hand. Consult us before making other fatal errors that may exclude you from selection. Since this process may take several rewrites to complete, we suggest you begin early.
Some College Application Guidelines
1. The most important item to remember is to apply early.
Competition is severe and sometimes the early applications get preference in some form. Don't leave it for the last week before the deadline. Most universities use a January deadline. Beat that deadline by at least two weeks. Make sure you know the deadlines for each school you are applying to.
2. Send in your application yourself.
Send it in as a registered letter with a return receipt requested. This way you know it got there. Also include a self addressed and stamped postal card for the admissions office to send to you when they have received all the material. If your high school requires you to send it in through their office, do so but call the university later and make sure it was received on time.
3. Read all the instructions first before you take pen to paper.
Type it or pay someone to type it for you. It should be clean and professional in appearance. Get help if you need it. Ask questions and be sure about what you put on the application. This is serious business.
4. Use copies of the application for practice.
Make copies of each completed form you send in for yourself. This way if there is a problem later, you have an immediate backup copy. Neatness does count. Here you are creating an impression of yourself. These people do not know you. You must get their attention.
5. Use the school's form.
Even though you can get a copy of the form over the Internet, write or call the school yourself and have them send you a complete admissions package. Do this in September. It often contains tips and hints about the application and the school's services. It also looks better to the review board than a copy.
6. Make sure your application is complete.
Never send in an incomplete or partial application. Incomplete applications reflect poorly on the applicant and only create problems.
7. Most schools look for the balanced student.
Here again image is everything. A balanced student is one who has community service, a work history, clubs and organization membership, athletic interests and outside activities. Don't list everything you have done and make the list boring and repetitive. List a balance of items that show off your initiative and command of your own future and talents. Ask for help if you are unsure. The narrow-minded bookworm may have the grades but not the advantage in college admissions.
8. A diverse university adds to the intellectual atmosphere. A good school knows this. If your background is unusual, use it for the admission process.
9. Take advantage of an early admission or early notification program.
Often these applicants get preferential treatment. Here you must apply to your 1st choice college early in your senior year. Check each school's deadline carefully. Your submission of the application means that you have made a commitment to attend if accepted. You will usually be notified within 4 weeks of your application and you will beat the competition. If accepted, you are required to withdraw all other applications immediately. You can file only one early decision application. These procedures are often confusing so ask for help.
10. Ask only those teachers and counselors that you know well to write recommendation letters.
If possible, make sure you see the letters beforehand. Ask the writer if they would mind giving you a copy for your files. Most will be glad to. One letter that is weak can make the difference between acceptance and rejection.
11. Never waive your rights to see any material that goes into any file of yours.
12. Make the essay your own creation.
Have you written an essay that reflects your personality? Is it interesting and intelligent? Is it very specific or does it ramble on? Keep the essay to about 500 words. Do not purchase previously written essays to use as examples. College and university admission reviewers can spot a boilerplate essay immediately. This will surely kill your application.